The Supreme Court has granted the Federal Government total control of all waterways in the country, including the right to levy and licence operators in the sector.
The court, in a landmark judgement it delivered last Friday, in an appeal marked: SC/CV/17/2018, held that States lack the constitutional right to impose levies on businesses operating in the nation’s inland waterways.The appeal was filed by the National Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA, and the Nigerian Maritime Standard and Safety Agency, NMSSA, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, as well as the Minister of Transport.
Respondents to the case were the Lagos State Waterways, the state’s Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development, the state’s Attorney-General, the Governor of Lagos State, the Incorporated Trustees of Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transportation of Nigeria, ATBOWTN, and the Incorporated Trustees of Dredgers Association of Nigeria, DAN.
The apex court held that it was wrong, unlawful and illegal for states to seek to control the sector and impose levies.
The appeal, filed in 2018, was prosecuted for the Appellants by a team of lawyers led by the present Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN.In its lead judgment that was prepared by Justice Inyang Okoro and read by Justice Emmanuel Agim, the Supreme Court held that NIWA is the only agency saddled with the responsibility to levy, impose, and charge rates of utilization along the declared waters of the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority.
It added that NIWA is the rightful and legal agency of FG with the powers to exclusively manage, direct and control all activities on the navigable waters and its right of way, throughout the country, for inland navigation, pursuant to Sections 8 and 9 of NIWA Act.
The apex court equally agreed with Fagbemi, SAN, that activities of the Lagos government and its agencies constituted a flagrant usurpation and an illegal encroachment on the statutory functions of NIWA because the waterways of Lagos State, among others in Nigeria, are under the Exclusive Legislative List set out in Part 1 of the Second Schedule to the 1999 Constitution.
It held that only FG, through the National Assembly, could legislate on Maritime Shipping and Navigation, stressing that the power to legislate on any subject in the Exclusive Legislative List was not within the rights of the Lagos State Government.
The court noted that existing laws did not favour Lagos government’s arguments on resource control, adding that political stakeholders, including the Legislature, could work on ways to amend the law to address the concern raised by Lagos and others on the issue.
It restored the judgement delivered on March 28, 2014, by Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court in Lagos and reversed the July 18, 2017 verdict of the Court of Appeal (Lagos Division), which set aside the Federal High Court judgment.
The Appellants had among other things, argued that the activities of the Lagos State Waterways Authority, LASWA, created by the Lagos Government, through the enactment of LASWA Law No. 14 of 2008 (LASWA 2008) by the state’s House of Assembly, to regulate, develop and manage all aspects of the waterways in Lagos State, was unconstitutional.
They argued that the inland waterways within Lagos State, not captured by the National Inland Waterways Act, are within the legislative competence of the state’s Legislature.
It was their position that states could collect taxes/levies on businesses on waterways within their territory.
However, confronted with a regime of multiple charges by agencies of both FG and Lagos State, ATBOWTN and DAN, in a suit marked: FHC/L/CS/543/2012, approached the Federal High Court in Lagos to determine which tier of government was empowered by extant laws to license and levy business operators on the nation’s inland waterways.
In his judgment on the case, Justice Tsoho, on March 28, 2014, held, among others, that NIWA and NMSSA were the proper and lawful agencies with authority in matters relating to the commercial activities of ATBOWTN and DAN, who are involved in water tourism, water transportation and sand dredging within the national inland waterways.
Justice Tsoho restrained the Lagos State Waterways Authority and the state’s Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructural Development from further seeking to control the commercial activities of the plaintiffs – ATBOWTN and DAN.
Justice Tsoho’s judgement was eventually vacated on July ,18, 2017 in an appeal marked: CA/L/886/2014, which was fled by the Governor of Lagos State and three others. Dissatisfied with the development,
NIWA and the three other Appellantts took the matter before the Supreme Court which in the judgement it delivered last Friday, reaffirmed the earlier judgement of the high court.
PHOTOS: World Tallest Man Meets Shortest Woman Again
The World’s tallest man has reunited with the world’s shortest woman six years after their viral photoshoot in front of the Egyptian pyramids.
According to The Sun on Monday, Sultan Kosen, who stands at 8ft 3in, and Jyoti Amge, who is just 2ft tall, were a striking pair as they posed for pictures in Irvine, California, on Monday.
There is a 6ft height difference between the two, who earned their respective Guiness World Record titles in 2009 for ‘Tallest Living Man’ and 2011 for ‘Shortest Living Woman’.
Kosen, 41, from Turkey, and Amge, 30, from India, previously met for a photoshoot in Cairo, Egypt, in 2018, where they posed in front of the Giza Pyramids as part of a campaign to revive the country’s struggling tourism industry.
Their tall and small stature was caused by medical conditions. Amge has a form of dwarfism called achondroplasia that stopped her growth, while Kosen had a tumor that caused pituitary gigantism, which gave him a massive growth spurt aged 10.
According to the Guinness World Records, Kosen is the first person in more than a decade to measure over 8ft and is one of only 10 confirmed cases in history.
While he is the tallest man in the world, his family members are all average size. Kosen was also normal height up until his growth spurt when he was 10 years old.
His massive size is the result of a condition known as ‘pituitary gigantism,’ which is caused by an over-production of growth hormone.
Kosen unable to complete his education due to his size supported his family by working as a farmer.
In 2013, he married Merve Dibo, a Syrian native ten years his junior, though the language barrier between Turkish and Arabic posed communication challenges, ultimately leading to their divorce in 2021. Kosen ventured into acting, starring in the 2016 film “Achieving the Impossible” after traveling to Hollywood.In 2016, he traveled to Hollywood for his starring role in the film Achieving the Impossible.
On the other hand, Amge’s diminutive stature, resulting from achondroplasia, is characteristic of her condition, with the average female affected typically growing to 48 inches tall.
Her petite frame gained worldwide recognition, particularly after being officially declared the world’s smallest woman in 2011, weighing just 11 pounds as a teenager.
She pursued acting, notably appearing alongside A-list stars like Jessica Lange in “American Horror Story: Freak Show” as Ma Petit in 2014.
American Sues Lottery Firm Over $340m Win Declared As Mistake
A Washington DC man, John Cheeks, has filed a lawsuit against Powerball and the DC Lottery.
Cheeks had earlier thought he won a jackpot worth $340m (£270m), before Powerball and the DC Lottery, said they posted Cheeks numbers by mistake.
Powerball is an American lottery game offered by 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
In January 2023, Cheeks saw Powerball’s winning numbers corresponded with his ticket. However, showing his ticket to the Office of Lottery and Gaming, Cheeks disclosed his claim was rejected and he is now suing the lottery for damages accumulating to the Powerball jackpot, the interest he would have earned on it per day summing $340m.
He said, “One of the claims agents told me my ticket was no good, just to throw it in the trash can.”
Cheeks is now suing on eight separate counts, among which are breach of contract, negligence, infliction of emotional distress, and fraud.
According to court documents, Powerball and a lottery contractor, the DC-based Taoti Enterprises, claim the confusion arose from a technical error, BBC reports.
In a court filing, a Taoti employee said that on 6 January 2023 – the day Mr Cheeks bought his ticket – a quality assurance team was running tests on the website.
On that day, a set of test Powerball numbers, which matched Mr Cheeks’ numbers – was posted on the website “accidentally”, according to court documents. Those numbers remained online for three days, until 9 January, adding that the numbers online did not match the numbers that were drawn at the last lottery draw.
The BBC reports that neither Powerball nor Taoti responded to its request for comment on the case.
“This lawsuit raises critical questions about the integrity and accountability of lottery operations and the safeguards – or lack thereof – against the type of errors that Powerball and the DC Lottery contend occurred in this case,” Cheeks’ lawyer, Richard Evans, told the BBC.
He believes the winning numbers corresponded to Cheeks’ numbers and was privileged to the “entire jackpot,” adding that “this is not merely about numbers on a website; it’s about the reliability of institutions that promise life-changing opportunities, while heavily profiting in the process.”
While speaking, Cheeks expressed confidence in the law system, saying, “I know the justice system will prevail.”
The case is therefore scheduled for hearing on February 23.
One Dead, 21 Injured In US Super Bowl Parade Shooting
One person has died and 21 people were wounded in a shooting in Missouri at the end of the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade in the United States.
Officials said they treated eight victims who were in immediately life-threatening condition and seven others who had suffered injuries that could prove life-threatening.
According to BBC, nine children were among the wounded – all are expected to recover. And, the police said they have arrested three suspects in connection to the shooting.
The shots were fired west of Union Station, the train station in downtown Kansas City, which was where the parade ended at around 14:00 local time (20:00 GMT) and thousands of fans had gathered to watch the festivities.
Local reports said Kansas City Chiefs players were still on a stage there when the first shots rang out.
The gunfire caused the watching crowd, including the city’s mayor and his family members, to run for cover.
Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves said officers responded immediately after the gunshots broke out and detectives who were on the scene quickly opened an investigation. The Fire Department also sprang to action, administering aid to the injured.
More than 800 police officers were already on the scene to monitor the parade, officials said. The city’s fire department was also present to provide medical attention if needed.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Chief Graves said a total of 22 people were struck by gunfire – one of whom is dead – and three individuals were arrested.
A local radio station said one of its DJs, Lisa Lopez, was killed in the shooting.
The surviving victims were transported to three local hospitals, officials said, with the immediately life-threatening cases taken to hospital within 10 minutes of the shooting.
Nine children aged six to 15 with gunshot wounds are being treated at Children’s Mercy Hospital, chief nursing officer Stephanie Meyer said.
“The one word I would just use to describe what we saw and how they felt when they came to us was fear,” Ms Meyer added.
Local hospitals said they were also treating people who were not shot but who had suffered other injuries in the sudden stampede that followed the shooting.
City officials did not release the names of any of the victims. They also did not share any information about the suspects who were arrested, including what might have led to the shooting.
A law enforcement source told CBS News, the BBC’s US partner, that the shooting appeared to be the result of an argument that turned violent. The source said it was not terrorism-related.
Police said they are investigating a motive and gathering physical as well as digital evidence. They asked for any witnesses or individuals with information to contact law enforcement.
A city ‘heartbroken’
The shooting broke out as the city was celebrating a second straight Super Bowl win by the Kansas City Chiefs. But this lesser-known American city was robbed of its exhilarating and unifying moment.
Kansas City’s mayor Quinton Lucas said he was inside the Union Station when he and others heard the sound of gunfire. He and members of his family started running.
“We went out today like everyone in Kansas City looking to have a celebration,” Mr Lucas said at Wednesday’s news conference.
“I was there with my wife, I was there with my mother. I never would’ve thought that we, along with Chiefs players, along with fans, hundreds of thousands of people, would be forced to run for our safety today.”
In a statement, the Kansas City Chiefs organisation said it was “truly saddened” by Wednesday’s violence. It added that its players, coaches and staff – as well as their families – were accounted for and safe.
Travis Kelce, the star tight end of the team whose relationship with Taylor Swift became a cultural phenomenon, wrote on social media that he was “heartbroken over the tragedy that took place today.”
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, a wide receiver for the Chiefs, also took to social media after the tragedy. He said he wanted to get in touch with the young victims of the shooting.
“I want to make sure they’re doing ok,” Mr Valdes-Scantling said. “But would love to help them out any way I can and get them some stuff from the team to help with the recovery.”
The mayor emphasised that the city had security measures in place, and it should make the public think deeply about a path forward. Despite hundreds of law enforcement present, he said, this incident still occurred due to the presence of bad actors with guns.
In a statement, US President Joe Biden also reflected on the issue of gun violence in the country.
“Today’s events should move us, shock us, shame us into action,” he said, as he called for gun reform and a ban on assault rifles in the US.
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